A South Carolina grandmother pulled in a 12-foot, 494-pound alligator in the final hours of the state's annual public hunt over the weekend as her son and two of her grandkids looked on.
Deborah Swails, 60, received an alligator hunt permit from the state's Department of Natural Resources after her son Joe insisted she apply for the lottery-style drawing. The state issues 1,000 permits a year, but approximately five times that many apply.
When Joe Swails called his mother to tell her she'd received a permit, "I wanted to choke him," Deborah Swails told the Post and Courier newspaper.
The paper reported that the Swails made several expeditions with no luck bagging a gator. But at 3 a.m. Saturday, nine hours before the season was due to end, they hooked their massive catch.
"You know you have something on there, but it felt like a log," said Swails, who told the Post and Courier she didn't realize how large it was until its head broke the surface after 20 minutes on the hook.
"Oooh, my God," she said. "I wanted to call for help."
With the help of Joe and Joe's children -- 13-year-old McKenna and 10-year-old Jackson -- Deborah wrestled the gator to the side of the boat, where it was finished off with several shots from a revolver.
The family plans to serve the meat at a family cookout while Deborah keeps the head as a trophy.